Springfield City Council approves $1.6M for 15 community preservation projects (MassLive)




Read the original story from MassLive's Pete Goonan here.


SPRINGFIELD — The City Council has approved approximately $1.6 million to assist with 15 local projects under the Community Preservation Act program, with a focus on historic preservation and improving parks, open land and housing.

The funds, approved on Monday, focus on projects ranging from historic home renovations in the McKnight local historic district, to evaluating the recreational potential at various ponds in Indian Orchard.


Robert McCarroll, chairman of the Community Preservation Committee, said the projects are diverse, located in 10 of the city’s 17 neighborhoods.


“I am pleased that the committee put forth 15 recommendations that the council thought they were good recommendations,” McCarroll said. "We look forward to moving ahead with these projects. Now we have to get them under contract.


Under the Community Preservation Act, adopted by city voters in 2016, the funds are raised annually by charging a a city property tax surcharge.


The funds can be used for purposes including the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space, recreational land, historic resources and community housing.


Local organizations, nonprofit groups and city departments have applied for the funds


The following 15 projects are recommended for funds totaling $1,581,927:


  • Duggan Park, $250,000, for improvements to include a baseball field, basketball courts and community garden

  • Elias Brookings Apartments, $250,000, to assist with the rehabilitation of the former historic school by Home City Development for affordable housing.

  • Historic home restoration program, $200,000, to assist homes in the McKnight Local Historic District with exterior needs.

  • George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, $165,587, for exterior improvements including the western facade and stained glass windows

  • Forest Park, $110,000, for restoration of the gazebo destroyed in the 2011 tornado

  • Marshall Roy Field, $101,550, to design and install a loop walking path around the park in East Springfield

  • Kilroy House, $92,775, to repair and protect the terra cotta tile roof and stucco exterior

  • Springfield bike park study, $80,000, to produce design development and construction plans for a proposed bike and skate park in the city

  • Indian Orchard, $50,000, to evaluate the creation of swimming and recreational ponds in the neighborhood

  • Thompson Triangle Park, $46,000, for preservation and repair of the fountain

  • Regreen Springfield, $40,635, to continue the effort to control invasive plants, primarily Japanese knotweed, described as a threat to many parks

  • Rockrimmon Boathouse, $35,000, for a study of the site adjacent to the Connecticut River and North Riverfront Park for reuse of the boathouse and other improvements

  • Building Beauty for the Community, $33,600, for repairs at the century-old school site at 57 School St.

  • Spanish-American War monument, $20,000, for a study and specifications of how best to preserve the monument at Memorial Square

  • The Trinity House at 51-53 Bay St., $106,800, for a rehabilitation project.


The committee had received 25 applications for funds, and also reduced some of the requested amounts, McCarroll said.


Councilors praised the recommendations, including At-Large Councilor Jesse Lederman who thanked the committee for “all of these incredible projects.”


" I really think that this year the CPC has hit its stride," Lederman said.


All the prior projects recommended in the past two years were also “very positive for the community as well -- but I think the diversity of the projects that are proposed this year are really showing what the CPA (Community Preservation Act) is going to be able to do over time."


The city levies a 1.5% tax surcharge on Springfield residential and business properties each year. The first $100,000 in property valuation is exempt from the surcharge.

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